BY: John Mamola
As the NHL officially ends with the Chicago Blackhawks winning their second Stanley Cup in the last four seasons, the eyes of the hockey world now turn to the NHL off season. For Tampa Bay Lightning fans, this upcoming off season could be one of the most important moments in shaping the future of the franchise.
The Bolts disappointing season saw no postseason, the firing head coach Guy Boucher to bring in Jon Cooper, and now the pressure built on the third overall selection in Sunday’s NHL Draft. Lightning television analyst Bobby “The Chief” Taylor joined WDAE’s The Sports page on Tuesday morning and discussed what he’d like to see the Lightning address in the coming months. Taylor said that youth getting experience could be the answer.
“You’ve got some really good young guys (in the minors). The thing is if you don’t start giving these guys the opportunity, you’ll lose them” said Taylor. “They’re probably in a very precarious position in a sense. They might be another year away, but you got to put that carrot in front of the donkey for them. Because they’ve done everything they can in the AHL.”
The future of Lightning Captain Vincent LeCavalier in Tampa is also going to be a tough decision for the franchise as the salary cap shrinks heading into the 2013-2014 season. Taylor saying on WDAE that LeCavalier may be old, but he can still contribute.
“I don’t know how you can do this. How would you do that because Vinny’s been here and he’s been so much for this community” said Taylor. “The thing of it is will be who are you going to have to come in to do that? I know it’s a lot of money for a second line center, but who you going to have to play second line center with those kind of numbers (stats) right off the bat.”
To hear “The Chief” take on the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup and his breakdown of the top five prospects in this year’s draft, check it out below.